"Absolutely not!" Coran cried, rising from his chair. He crossed the room, only to turn and stare at Keith as if he were a stranger. "There is no way I can allow the princess to be exposed to that kind of danger, Captain."

"But, Coran," Allura protested, "if she is up to anything, we have to have more evidence. We can't act on just suspicions." The princess inwardly crossed her fingers, hoping her guardian would see reason.

"Also, I would like to know who she is working for and how all this got arranged," Keith added, "if this is a set-up."

Coran sighed, feeling each and every one of his years and then some. He knew that Allura would not back down and her absence from the mission may undo everything that had been planned. "You are sure the princess will be safe?"

Keith grimaced. "There is always danger, Coran. However, you have my promise that I am taking every precaution I can to ensure her safety."

"Coran," Allura said softly, "we knew that none of this would be easy when I became the pilot of the blue lion. But this is something I have to do."

Coran closed his eyes. "I realize that. However, be careful. Burying your mother and your father was hard enough. I don't want to think about another funeral."

Without another glance, Coran left the room. Allura studied the doorway, guilt tearing at her heart. She hated to think of the torment Coran and Nanny went through because of her decision to become a member of Voltron.

"Please tell me I am doing the right thing, Keith," she whispered, glancing at him.

"You have to do what you think is right, Allura."

He stood up and kissed her on the cheek. "I've got to check on some things. I'll catch up with you later. Okay?"

Allura smiled weakly and nodded. With one last concerned look, Keith left. Realizing that she couldn't think surrounded by four walls, she headed to the gardens to be alone.

* * * * *

Allura sat on the bench under the willow, remembering the night that Lotor had attacked her and Keith. It was that same night that she and Keith had finally come to their senses. 'Had I been wrong even then?'

She stood up, shaking her head violently. 'No! I love Keith, and if this war ever ends, I know that together we can restore Arus.'

Stopping her thoughts there, Allura strolled down one of the garden paths. 'I am not wrong by being the pilot of the blue lion. Father said that Voltron was design so that his heir to help defend Arus. He gave me and Keith his blessing. I'm not wrong about this!'

She fumed silently as she strolled further down the path. 'If only I could get Nanny and Coran to see reason! Don't they see that this is the right way for me and Arus!'

Allura collided with something.

"Excuse me, Your Majesty," Dr. Hamilton said.

"It was my fault as well," Allura replied. "I was lost in thought."

"By your expression, they can't be happy ones."

The princess forced herself to give a friendly smile. "I was just mulling over some last minute decisions."

"I see," Catherine replied. "Any idea of when we depart?"

"If everything is approved this afternoon, I would assume in next day or so. However, there are some loose ends to tie up."

"Loose ends?"

"Like which lion you will travel in," Allura explained, noting the continually growing interest the other woman's eyes. "Pidge is having some specialized equipment installed in the green lion. However, any lion should do."

"The green lion sounds fine," Catherine said. "It would easier for me to consult with Pidge if we are in the same lion."

"If you're certain, I'll tell Coran and Keith."

Catherine nodded. "It sounds like the best solution," she said. "Thank you."

"You're welcome." With a final smile, Allura headed back to the castle. She had to talk to Keith and the others about this latest development.

Allura found Keith and Lance laughing in one of the workout rooms. Both men were slightly out of breath and sweating. The princess cleared her throat before proceeding further into the room. Both turned to Allura, smiling.

"And what have you two been up to?" she asked.

"Just a little practice," Keith replied.

Lance's smile broadened. "I was easy on him, Princess. Promise."

"So, what have you been up to?" Keith asked.

"Well, that's why I came to find you," she began, "though I wasn't expecting to find you this sweaty. I was out in the garden, when I literally ran into Catherine. She is going to ride in the green lion."

"I see," Keith said absently, already retreating into thought. "That will alter plans slightly."

"How?" Lance asked.

"I will fill you in later this afternoon. However, for show, we will have a meeting tonight to finalize all the details."

"Sounds good to me, Cap'n," Lance said, flinging a towel about his shoulders. "I'm hitting the showers."

"I would suggest the same for you, too, Keith," Allura said, putting some distance between them but failing in keeping a straight face.

Keith smiled. "Yeah, I guess Lance and I did get a little carried away."

"Well, I have to do some paperwork in my office. Why don't you take a shower and join me. You can work out all the details, while I slave over the boring stuff."

Keith gave her a quick kiss. "I will be there shortly."